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Anyone Using the GI Bill?


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Well, just like the topic says, has anyone used the GI Bill recently for flight school? I’m sure this has been asked before but as anyone that has used the GIB knows it changes every other day. I am currently enrolling in Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) for their Flight Management program with a focus in flight training rotary wing (they offer fixed wing, ATC etc. also). I plan to finish the AS in a year and finish my BS the following year at Embry-Riddle or University of Maryland. I’m just wondering about your experiences and any advice you guys might have.

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my personal experience so far is that 1) you cant trust your academic advisor (put me in the wrong flight class, more importantly the wrong helicopter), and the VA rep at the school cant be trusted either. obviously this only applies to the school I went to. the VA rep there hasnt been bad, just giving me conflicting information.... go figure....

 

post 9/11 still pays for flight school that is through a college. just make sure the course is VA approved. the changes regarding flight were that it would pay for it (not through a college) so long as you already had your PPL.

 

I JUST went through the entire process. I registered for spring 2012 two days ago. All I have left to do is pay the flight school their application fee and start buying books/headsets/whatever else i need.

 

any other more specific questions??

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Has worked out perfect for me so far. It has covered over 120,000 dollars worth of training so far (not including the BAH), finished my AAS, got a CFII position, and now I'm using the rest of it to get my fixed-wing ratings and start on a BS.

I'd love to answer any specifics you may have.

Good luck!

Edited by crashed_05
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@chashed_05

 

WOW 120k of benefits from the GI Bill! That is amazing.

 

 

@ridethisbike

 

I hear you about the VA people, it seems that no one knows how this thing really works. I guess you really have to do your due diligence to make sure everything works right.

 

So I guess my question to both of you (and anyone else) would be this… I am going to a local community college for my AS with this I will get my PPL, COMM, and IFR (rotary) ratings. What I would like to do is as soon as I get my PPL start working on my fixed wing at another 141 school. I know it sounds like a lot but I am giving myself 2 years to get my AS and BS with all my ratings. Is there a cap on how much you can spend in a year and can you attend two schools at the same time?

Edited by navair
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That's a really big workload for only a two year period. Not sure if you can do the two schools at once. The community college I went through had two separate aviation programs: Aviation-helicopter and Aviation-airplane. I finished the helicopter degree and now am taking the airplane degree with the rest of my GI Bill. Since most of the aviation classes from the helicopter degree will transfer to my airplane degree, I can focus on taking classes that will count toward a Bachelor degree.

Here's some VA links...

http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/post_911_gibill/index.html

https://gibill.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1438/kw/1438

http://gibill.va.gov/gi_bill_info/ch33/tuition_and_fees_2010.htm

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Trying to do helo and fixed, as well as an AAS and BS is somewhat rediculous to be honest. I feel like many people underestimate the workload that getting just one degree and working on one rating at a time. Not to mention, what you want to do isn't even allowed. You can declare two seperate degrees at the same school with and have the VA pay for it with special approval. But the VA will not allow you to spend benefits at two different schools. You must complete a form 22-1995 each time you change schools, disallowing the school you are coming from to submit benefits request forms in your name and allowing your new school to do that.

 

My question to you is, whats the rush? Why do you need all of your ratings and BS in two years? I did PVT to CFI-I helo and my AAS in 21 months, and I was a busy mofo. Now that I work as a CFI, I am taking fixed wing on the side and SLOWLY getting my BS knocked out. I read in another post that living expenses is whats going to be holding you back. Get a job (preferably at the flight school you intend to work). With a job and half the ratings being worked on, you will still be less busy and live more comfortably.

 

I see a lot of guys with your ambition, and its great, don't get me wrong. But you are literally going to kill yourself and potentially hurt your chances for hire afterwards. Spend the time you would be doing fixed wing training right now on hanging around your helo school and making a name for yourself. That will pay off more than have a PPL fixed.

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@Dune

 

Sounds like solid advice on the ratings, it may be a little too ambitious... As far as the time frame goes, I already have about 90-100 credits (and just CLEP'd all my maths yesterday) if you count the credit my A&P will give me at Embry-Riddle (about 40 if you can believe it).

 

As far as the living expenses go I am set for about a year so that I don't have to get a "real" job and just focus on school and flying. After that if I don't have my CFI and instructing job I can always just bump up my reserve time for extra money.

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Be careful with CLEPing your classes. Its great to be able to transfer credits like that, but one of my buddies got into some trouble. You need to be full time to get 100% of your BAH. You can only take courses that are required for the degree. If you transfer credits for classes required for your degree, you may find yourself not able to take enough credits for a term to be full time. As long as you don't mind not getting full BAH then it doesn't matter. My friend wished he hadn't CLEPed his classes and just took them at the college so he would have enough to make the BAH.

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Be careful with CLEPing your classes. Its great to be able to transfer credits like that, but one of my buddies got into some trouble. You need to be full time to get 100% of your BAH. You can only take courses that are required for the degree. If you transfer credits for classes required for your degree, you may find yourself not able to take enough credits for a term to be full time. As long as you don't mind not getting full BAH then it doesn't matter. My friend wished he hadn't CLEPed his classes and just took them at the college so he would have enough to make the BAH.

 

You can declare two degrees at the same time at the same college to cover the missing classes. I.E. Helicopter flight and Basket Weaving. It takes special approval, but it's not difficult to get.

 

@OP

Have you already started at embry riddle? If you have not you won't be getting any ratings through them with the schooling, at least not paid for by the GI Bill. SB 3447 made damn sure of that.

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Good idea Dune, getting that full rate BAH is a big deal (especially when its $1950)... maybe I'll do ATC or even better flight attendant ;-)

 

I have a friend that got out of the Navy and went down to Daytona about a year and a half two years ago... He got royally screwed with SB 3447... at least he got PPL and multi out of the GI Bill, but from here on out it looks like he will have to foot the bill...

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I go to ERAU in AZ. I have taken between 13 and 17 credits every semester since last fall. The 13 is very doable. When you get into the 16-17 range, it gets hard to manage (depending on your classes). There is a lot of studying that goes into flight (we only get 1 credit for each rating here, and 3 for ground school, 4 for CFI/II ground school).

 

I have absolutely no life. I am still in the reserves, and travel to WA almost every month to see my kids/hubby and to drill. I study on the flight, I study during all my down time. I haven't watched any TV shows in I don't know how long. I force myself to take a break to go hang out for a couple hours a week that doesn't relate to school (I'm still having a hard time enforcing this).

I came to Riddle with an AA in Business Admin, and a total (including the AA) of 108 credits. I have 3 minors. This is my 4th semester. I have 2 distance classes to take in the spring, and I'm done. That being said, many of the students here think I'm nuts. The only reason I'm pushing through so fast is because I need to get back to living with my kids. It's been almost 1.5 years.

 

I'm not trying to tell you not to try it, but it's very easy to burn out. I went through a phase where I didn't like flying. I had to take a month break, then come back to it. I think that before you make plans too far into the future, that you should go for a semester and see how it is. You'll have a much better idea about how many credits you can take and how much time you'll have to allot yourself to finish everything.

 

Also, if you overload yourself, your flying will suffer. If you have questions/comments/concerns regarding school/flight training or GI Bill stuff, feel free to contact me.

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SB3447 screwed a lot of people over. Luckily, the vets who currently attend private schools (erau for example) have been grandfathered in. Any new vets trying to do private schools are capped at 17,500 per year, which from my understanding won't even cover two semesters of tuition at most of the private schools out there. But I'll tell you now, 17,500/yr won't get any real flight training done.

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  • 4 weeks later...

SB3447 screwed a lot of people over. Luckily, the vets who currently attend private schools (erau for example) have been grandfathered in. Any new vets trying to do private schools are capped at 17,500 per year, which from my understanding won't even cover two semesters of tuition at most of the private schools out there. But I'll tell you now, 17,500/yr won't get any real flight training done.

 

The 17,500 will just cover the cost of tuition. The grandfather date was Jan. of 2011 (spring semester).

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Has worked out perfect for me so far. It has covered over 120,000 dollars worth of training so far (not including the BAH), finished my AAS, got a CFII position, and now I'm using the rest of it to get my fixed-wing ratings and start on a BS.

I'd love to answer any specifics you may have.

Good luck!

 

Please, Please Please tell me everything you did as I am retiring in '13 and want to get my Commercial Helicopter license only w/ all the necessary certs to go with it of course.

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  • 4 months later...

@OP forgot this thread even existed, sorry about that. Some really good info in here. If you DO CLEP all your credits, if you were to go to my school, you'd be able to do both fixed AND helicopter degree paths. The stipulation they have with it is that all your Gen Ed classes need to be finished before they will let you chase two degrees.

 

Also, from what I understand (don't quote me on this), if you hit a certain rating in helicopters, they transfer over to fixed wing and you can start off in Commercial. Not sure how that works, but a couple people I know what to go that route.

 

As far as the 17.5 cap.... not exactly sure how it works (never read into it). My first semester cost $19k and my next semester will cost $21k. Obviously my school found a way around it.

 

It has been some time since all this was talked about, so I guess I should ask you if you found a school to go to and how things went for you.

 

@JPCBFLYR: Do you still need any info on what to do?

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Great advice from all. Do not trust the VA. Do not trust advisers. They have no clue what's going on. The problem I ran into is that I knocked out so many classes in my first year that I can't take enough credits at this point to earn a housing allowance. It sucks, I'm working on my CFI, not getting a housing allowance, taking one credit this semester and working two jobs. Take your time with school, you do not want to run out of credits and lose your housing allowance. Good luck man!

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@OP forgot this thread even existed, sorry about that. Some really good info in here. If you DO CLEP all your credits, if you were to go to my school, you'd be able to do both fixed AND helicopter degree paths. The stipulation they have with it is that all your Gen Ed classes need to be finished before they will let you chase two degrees.

 

Also, from what I understand (don't quote me on this), if you hit a certain rating in helicopters, they transfer over to fixed wing and you can start off in Commercial. Not sure how that works, but a couple people I know what to go that route.

 

As far as the 17.5 cap.... not exactly sure how it works (never read into it). My first semester cost $19k and my next semester will cost $21k. Obviously my school found a way around it.

 

It has been some time since all this was talked about, so I guess I should ask you if you found a school to go to and how things went for you.

 

@JPCBFLYR: Do you still need any info on what to do?

 

The $17.5k cap is only for private schools such as Embry-Riddle. Yavapai is a public community college so the $17.5k cap does not apply.

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